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Ethics after Auschwitz?

Primo Levi’s and Elie Wiesel’s Response

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Carole J. Lambert

Ethics after Auschwitz? Primo Levi’s and Elie Wiesel’s Response demonstrates how, after their horrific experiences in Auschwitz, both Primo Levi and Elie Wiesel could have deservedly expressed rage and bitterness for the rest of their lives. Housed in the same barracks in the depths of hell, a dark reality surpassing Dante’s vivid images portrayed in The Inferno, they chose to speak, write, and work for a better world, never allowing the memory of those who did not survive to fade. Why and how did they make this choice? What influenced their values before Auschwitz and their moral decision making after it? What can others who have suffered less devastating traumas learn from them? «The quest is in the question», Wiesel often tells his students. This book is a quest for hope and goodness emerging from the Shoah’s deepest «night».

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Table of Contents

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Acknowledgments ...................................................................................... ix Introduction .................................................................................................. 1 PRACTICAL ETHICS Chapter 1: ‚Thou shalt not kill‛ ............................................................... 23 Chapter 2: ‚Thou shalt not commit adultery‛ ....................................... 37 Chapter 3: ‚Thou shalt not steal‛ ............................................................. 49 Chapter 4: ‚Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour‛ ...................................................................... 63 Chapter 5: ‚Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house‛ ................... 77 ESSENTIAL SPIRITUALITY Chapter 6: ‚I am the LORD thy God. . . . Thou shalt have no other gods before me‛ .................................................... 93 Chapter 7: ‚Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image‛ ....... 107 Chapter 8: ‚Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain‛ ................................................................. 119 Chapter 9: ‚Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy‛ .................. 131 Chapter 10: ‚Honour thy father and thy mother‛ ............................... 143 Conclusion ................................................................................................. 155 Index ........................................................................................................... 173

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